Before You Travel, Plan To Connect
If you have made efforts to seek out wine and dining experiences for an upcoming trip, you may also have made observations about events and people that interest you. Wine tasting events are on the rise, and the makers and purveyors of the wines are more active socially. Why not find if there is an extraordinary opportunity available during your travel?
find the wine calendar
Events are easy. Simply executing a search for "wine events (city of travel)" will return pages of links to sort through, but many will be in the past or repeated. A better tactic is to search local media, wine, and restaurant sites, some of which will have event calendars or additional resources. Some examples:
the wine celebrity challenge
A flexible schedule and patience are required, but reaching out to sommeliers, winemakers, and other wine celebrities may yield thrilling results. If you are really excited to visit a particular winery or restaurant, you really cannot go wrong by expressing your anticipation, and asking politely for an audience with the proprietor, chef, or somm. Most sites have contact information for influential members of the team. Even if there is only an email address to "info@...", give it a try. The worst that will happen is that your request will be declined by a staff member, but they should make note of your request and take good care of you when you visit. It is more likely you will receive your response directly from the source. Even if the person is not available for a lengthy conversation, he or she may stop by to say hello, and make sure that the staff knows to give you attention. Maybe you will receive a special treat from the kitchen, a personal tour of the winery, or an opportunity to taste reserve wines. And the person may available for more.
Of course, you can succeed without going all-in in this manner. Narrow to just a few desired wine and restaurant targets, and make your moves. One caution: Make it clear you are paying your own way, and not seeking a freebie. You will probably be surprised, and sure to be pleased, by the responses. Ask, and you may receive, but you will surely enjoy a better experience.
What has been your experience with wine and dining celebrities?